BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

RIVERISMYGODDESS

From Bad to Worse, pt 04
Friday, August 11, 2006

The gold is recovered, and a getaway is planned.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1890    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

pt 01,pt 02,pt 03

- - - - -

“Keep your hands where I can see ‘em, both of you.” Claire smiled, happy to have the advantage on this infuriating man for once in her lifetime. “Now turn, slowly, and I’ll put a bullet in either of you if your hand goes anywhere near iron.”

Mal and Zoe simultaneously lifted their hands to shoulder level, both turning an about face to their left. They didn’t risk a glance at each others’ faces, not wanting to give away their relative advantage. Upon verifying with his eyes what his ears had already told him, his face broke into a toothy grin.

“Claire Jameson, how wonderful it is to see you again,” he said as he continued smiling, the sarcasm dripping heavily from his words. “To what do I owe this, uh, pleasure?”

“Seems to me you are having a pretty bad day, an’ I thought my presence might make it better.” She stated, the sarcasm in her voice equaling Mal’s as she loosely held her pistol on him. Tom and Anya had entered the room behind her both with weapons trained on the pair, and they could see Amos in the hallway scanning the area, oblivious to Jayne’s hiding spot. “Your crew’s up and left with your ship, you are still the same sad and lonely man you always were, and I just caught you red-handed packing up my gold.”

Mal winced a little, but kept the huge smile on his face. “You always were such a little ray of sunshine Claire, it’s a wonder you have been reduced to petty thievery. I suppose the people with you have personalities that are just as shiny?” Mal’s hands went from being halfway raised to being crossed over his chest. “So what now dearie? It’s your move.”

“Well, I think you and your first mate here are going to carry my gold out and load it on my mule, then lie down in the dirt like the snake you are as I fly off in the only ship that is still here.”

“Seems like you’ve got it all figgered out then.” Mal quipped, not taking his eyes away from hers, the smile on his face never wavering. “Except, what are you going to do about the half dozen Alliance patrol ships headed here right now, most likely locked on to the only ship that is still here?”

- - -

“Won’t make it back alive.”

“What River? What do you mean? Who won’t make it back alive?”

River and Simon sat in the comfy chairs of common room. He was pouring over some medical texts on a portable viewscreen as she was resting her eyes and mind, exhausted from the intense testing Simon had been doing all morning. So far, he hadn’t been able to do anything to make a difference in the way she was acting. She still had her lucid periods, when it was like talking to anyone else on the ship, but she would suddenly flip and be completely incomprehensible almost instantly. She was also still refusing to talk to him at all about what had happened to her at the Academy.

“River, who are you talking about?”

“He flies in, tries to be the hero, but he won’t come out of there alive.”

Simon closed his eyes in concentration, feeling another headache coming on as a result of trying to understand what was going through his sister’s mind. He thought about trying some more tests, but it was already hard enough to get her to go into the infirmary even once a day, and he was also running out of tests that he thought would give him answers.

They both felt the downward pull as the ship lifted off, Simon still becoming nauseated as he got used to Wash’s somewhat abrupt style of flying. He could faintly hear footsteps coming from the direction of the bridge, and a moment later Shepherd Book stepped through the doorway, making his way across the galley to where they sat.

“Good afternoon, Simon, River.” He spoke softly but with a sense of urgency. “Doctor, I wonder if you wouldn’t mind helping me with a little task?” Simon looked up at the older man, a confused look on his face. “It seems the caper has become more complex, and the Captain has requested some help so we are not run down and captured by the Alliance ships headed this way.”

Simon’s eyes widened as he turned to look at his sister, who was now counting the holes in the metal grating of a wall panel. “What can I do to help?” he asked, fidgeting furiously with the nail on his left index finger. “Anything to keep us safe, that doesn’t involve me killing someone that is, I will do.”

Book nodded, smiling slightly. “No killing involved, else I wouldn’t be doing it either, but there are a few things I could use your help lifting and operating in the cargo bay. I need to get something from the bridge, but I will meet you down there.” He looked at River for a second, then turned back to Simon. “I believe the floors there should have enough holes to keep her happily counting for a few minutes at least.” He turned and headed back to the bridge as Simon stood, turning off the viewscreen in his lap.

River turned to smile at him. “Eighteen thousand, four hundred and twelve holes,” she announced proudly. “I’ll bet I can count to ten million before you can.” She stood, gracefully half-skipping her way down the hall to the stairs that would take them to the cargo bay, Simon following her with a frustrated frown on his face.

- - -

“You’re bluffing. You are just stalling while you try to think of some foolhardy plan to get out of this mess.”

“You know that, do ya? Got a long range scanner under that coat somewhere?”

Pursing her lips and narrowing her eyes, she gritted out through clenched teeth, “Just pick up the bags, and carry them to my mule. NOW!”

The grin re-appeared on Mal’s face as he leaned back on the crate they had found the gold bars in, his arms still crossed across his chest. “I have a better idea. How about you and your man-apes carry my bags full of my gold down to my new mule?”

Her voice dripping with venom, her eyes narrowed to barely open slits, Claire lowered her gun to a very sensitive region below his naval. “Mal Reynolds, what do you think you are playing at? I can make you hurt like you have never hurt before, and I’ll sit here and watch you slowly bleed out from parts of you that would be better off never seeing the light of day again.” She drew in a deep breath, seemingly steeling herself to take the shot.

Still smiling, Mal said, “You do that, dear,” Jayne cocked his high powered rifle loudly, “And you’ll be breathin’ through a hole the size of a grapefruit for the last few seconds that you’re alive.” Tom and Amos turned their heads to look for the source of the sound, keeping their weapons trained on Mal and Zoe. Their eyes widened as they noticed the large gun that was pointed at them, the equally large man behind it looking very eager to use it. “Now, what was that you were saying about bleeding out?”

Knowing that firing her weapon now would only end in a bloodbath that included the deaths of herself and her posse, Claire reluctantly lowered her weapon, prompting the others to do the same. Mal and Zoe relieved them of the hardware, standing back to cover them as the two large men solemnly lumbered forward to heft the large black bags over their shoulders.

“Now, I know I should leave you in the dirt like the backstabbing bitch you are, but I have a way for all of us to get out of here without being in Alliance custody. We need to move, now.” He motioned to Anya with Tom’s large rifle. “You, sweetheart, lead the way. Everyone follow her in a line, and if anyone so much as twitches their hand toward what I even think is a weapon I will drop you where you stand.”

- - -

Book entered the cargo bay down the stairs leading from the crew quarters, moving quickly but not hurrying. He had a small black box in his hand, a pair of thick black wires protruding from both ends and a red blinking light in the dead center of it. Simon looked quizzically at it as Book headed toward the cargo door nested within the floor of the bay.

“It’s a pulse beacon, one way of tracking ships. The Captain wants us to get rid of it to try and give the Alliance cruisers a harder time in finding us.” He paused a minute before continuing. “It’s a good idea, and it should work, unless they have already visually spotted us, in which case we will have to rely on Wash’s impeccable piloting skills to get us safely away.”

He turned and lifted a small hatch, dropping the beacon into the space below the floor. He then walked over past the controls and to the comm., hitting the button to connect him to the bridge.

“Wash, I am dropping the pulse beacon now. Going to get Simon to help me load the decoys, then we will wait here for your mark to open the doors for the others.”

Wash made an affirmative noise of acceptance, then cut off the comm. Book reached over to the control panel, flipping a small metal switch. They could hear the doors below opening momentarily, then the hydraulics of re-closing as Book toggled the switch back to its original state.

Simon looked over to River as Book moved toward a collection of crates on the right side of the cargo bay. She was sitting cross legged on the cool grating of the floor, pointing at the holes as she counted them wordlessly, her lips slightly moving and her brow furrowed in concentration.

“Meimei, how are you feeling?”

“You can’t win by distracting me, Simon, it just won’t work.”

Simon gave her a puzzled look, an adequate response failing to come from his brain. He returned his focus to Shepherd Book and the crates he was prying open. He walked over, grabbing one side of a loosened top as Book set the crowbar down and grabbed the other. They lifted it and set it aside, returning to look into the large crate. There were 4 large cylinders in the crate, each having various transmitters and receivers attached to the white case. There were scratches over what were presumably serial or identification numbers.

“Wash said these were already configured to Serenity’s NavSat, we just have to physically load them into the lower bay so they can be used if need be for an escape.”

Simon reached in to lift one side of one of the decoys as Book took the other end. The devices were surprisingly light, their looks being very deceptive. Simon let Book lift it alone then reached in for a second one. They carried the pair of satellites to the opening doors, setting them carefully inside. Simon returned to the open crate as Book grabbed the crowbar and began to pry open an identical one right beside it. After a few more minutes they had loaded all eight satellites into the lower bay and Book had shut the doors.

“Now what?” Simon asked, turning to make sure River was okay.

“We wait. We pray. We hope that the feds act like feds normally do.”

- - -

Anya lead the group back down through the ship, Tom and Amos behind her carrying the heavy black bags filled with gold bars. Claire walked behind them, with Mal flanking her on the right side. Zoe and Jayne followed, their guns trained on the other crew and their eyes constantly searching for any signs of an ambush. The last thing they wanted at this point was another surprise. Claire cleared her throat, breaking the silence that surrounded the odd little group.

“How do you plan to get us out of this one Mal?” she asked sarcastically, keeping her eyes focused forward on the rest of her posse. “You gonna heroically fight off several squads of armed feds with a couple of gunhands? Sounds like you’ve been out here in the Black too long, the space dementia is gettin’ to ya.”

Mal couldn’t see the smile on her face, though he knew it was there. “Actually, you and your boys are gonna help out.” She stopped in her tracks, unable to believe what she had heard. Mal kept moving, poking the barrel of his confiscated rifle hard into her back. “It would seem to me that you haven’t got much choice.”

“So, if I don’t help you kill federal troops, you are going to kill us?”

“Actually, I was thinkin’ I might give you a cut of my treasure if’n you did. If not, well, we can certainly tie you up for the reinforcements to find you later.”

“What, like 50-50?”

“I was thinking 75-25.”

“How about 60-40?”

“70-30.”

“C’mon Mal, I owe my guy the 40. If I get that I’ll be even, any less and I’ve gotta start killin’ folk.”

“Well I guess you’ll have to kill some folk. 70-30 is as low as I will go.”

They exited the ruined ship, following Anya around to where the mule had been left. After Mal’s last comment, Claire had become deathly silent. It wasn’t until they reached the idling mule that she spoke again.

“So, Mal, you criminal mastermind, how are we all gonna get to my ship?”

“Well, darlin’, since you asked so nice like, I’ll tell ya. Zoe is gonna fly you and me and one of your large friends to your ship, as well as one of the bags of my gold. Then Zoe’s gonna come back and get the rest of everyone while we sit and play nice.”

Claire nodded her approval, biting her tongue to keep a smartass retort from escaping. She climbed unto the mule, taking the passenger seat as Zoe settled herself into the driver’s position. Tom climbed into the back, hoisting the heavy black canvas bag in between the two rear seats. Mal turned to look at Jayne, who had slung his rifle over his shoulder and drawn two pistols, which he kept trained on the remaining members of the other crew. He nodded to Mal, who then turned and climbed into the mule, his pistol out in a relaxed right hand, the heavy automatic gun slung over his opposite shoulder.

They traveled in silence, the wind whipping through their hair and clothes, making conversation impossible. As they reached the other Firefly, Mal hopped down, motioning for Tom and Claire to do the same. With a nod of his head, Mal dismissed Zoe to retrieve the others, turning to usher the two into the ship’s cargo bay with his pistol.

“Do you really think this is going to work, Mal?” Claire asked as they climbed the open cargo bay ramp, watching her mule disappear into the dust cloud it had just created. “I know how you are about Alliance soldiers.”

“You even have to ask?” he questioned, pointing Tom to the cargo hideaway near the right staircase. “’Specially knowing how I am about Alliance soldiers.” He flashed her a broad grin as Tom shoved the heavy bag into the dark space.

Two minutes later, Zoe pulled the mule up the cargo ramp, getting as close to the door to the passenger dormitories as she could. Jayne jumped down and covered Amos and Anya as they got down themselves. Zoe came down to Mal’s side as Tom helped Amos shove the other bag into the hole, covering it when they had them safely stowed.

Claire opened her mouth to speak, but whatever she had to say was drowned out by the roar of aircraft soaring overhead. They rushed to the exit looking skyward and shielding their eyes from the sun with their hands.

“Tama de!” Mal exclaimed, staring off after the ships that had flown over them. “There were six of them, and four kept on going. I hope Wash got that pulse beacon dropped far enough behind himself.”

“Mal, shouldn’t we be more concerned with those?” Jayne asked, pointing to the two patrol ships that had landed halfway between the wreckage they had just left and their current location. “They know we’re here, there’s no arguing that.”

Mal glared at his mercenary for his statement of the obvious as he watched a squad of ten armed feds disembark from each of the two ships. Shortly thereafter, one of the ships took off again and began to circle the area. Mal returned his focus to the twenty armed men that were now headed toward them, still working out the details in his head of exactly how he was going to get out of this.

- - - - -

pt 05

- - - - -

Translations ( from http://fireflychinese.home.att.net/episode.html ):

meimei (mei-mei) – little sister

tama de (ta ma duh) – fuck me blind

COMMENTS

Friday, August 11, 2006 8:13 AM

SILLYLITTLEDUCK


ahhh, the saga continues *puts empty popcorn bowl next computer*

Very action packed and enjoyable. I love that Jayne is the guy who didn't get caught by claire. I mean if you've got one thing in life your good at... and i guess that's Jaynes.

I enjoyed hearing the mal/claire money bantering. I'm so excited to see where this is headed and how River's comments fit in.

Friday, August 11, 2006 8:13 AM

SILLYLITTLEDUCK


ahhh, the saga continues *puts empty popcorn bowl next computer*

Very action packed and enjoyable. I love that Jayne is the guy who didn't get caught by claire. I mean if you've got one thing in life your good at... and i guess that's Jaynes.

I enjoyed hearing the mal/claire money bantering. I'm so excited to see where this is headed and how River's comments fit in.

Friday, August 11, 2006 8:14 AM

SILLYLITTLEDUCK


*furrow's brow in annoyance to the double post*

Curses you "submit" button!!!

Saturday, August 12, 2006 5:29 AM

LEIASKY


So many good lines in this one, I can't pick them, all out. But these few were just great.

>I can make you hurt like you have never hurt before, and I’ll sit here and watch you slowly bleed out from parts of you that would be better off never seeing the light of day again.”

Ahh, i really do like Claire.

>“You do that, dear,” Jayne cocked his high powered rifle loudly, “And you’ll be breathin’ through a hole the size of a grapefruit for the last few seconds that you’re alive.”

Ahh, so very Jayne. Great comment!

>“You can’t win by distracting me, Simon, it just won’t work.”

I just love River!

Hope you don't keep us waiting long for the next chapter.

Saturday, August 12, 2006 6:46 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Ah...River..Goddess....you bring us such shininess;)

Definitely been missing this series, and I find the predicament you've placed the BDHs, Claire and her crew in to be totally par for the course:)

Oh...and your Mal/Claire banter was brilliant;)

BEB

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 4:31 PM

SPACEFULLOFOBJECTS


It's taken me a while to get to this. Sorry, you have a great series here and I'm excited to get back to it.

Simon closed his eyes in concentration, feeling another headache coming on as a result of trying to understand what was going through his sister’s mind. *Man, what a great line...

The grin re-appeared on Mal’s face as he leaned back on the crate they had found the gold bars in, his arms still crossed across his chest. “I have a better idea. How about you and your man-apes carry my bags full of my gold down to my new mule?” *Again, Mal, the deal maker at his best, loved the Claire - Mal exchange here. Great job!

“We wait. We pray. We hope that the feds act like feds normally do.” *Yeah! You know it too!

This is a great story Riv...I'm glad you're doing it.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007 3:17 PM

VALERIEBEAN


I was reading this and I realize I do it all the time too... do we really think that River sits there and counts holes? And if so, is it really just a bunch of holes to her? Remember in the Message, she counted to see if the storm was coming or going... or Objects in Space, the gun was a tree branch... What is she really counting?



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From Bad to Worse, chapters 1-10 (COMPLETE)
This is a re-post from before the BSR got hit a few weeks ago.

The story takes place in between ‘The Train Job’ and ‘Bushwhacked.’ According to Inara, there is a three-ish month gap here, so I thought it would be perfect for this little story and its epilogue.


From Bad to Worse, pt 10
Thrilling heroics ensue.

From Bad to Worse, pt 09
Mal, Zoe, and Jayne come to the rescue, and backup from the engine room arrives.

From Bad to Worse, pt 08
Claire is put to the ropes, though the cavalry is on the way.

From Bad to Worse, pt 07
Mal, Jayne, and Zoe make their way back to Serenity, and Claire and her posse run into even more troubles.

From Bad to Worse, pt 06
The fighting is ended for now, though revenge is on more than one person's mind.

From Bad to Worse, pt 05
The feds arrive, a shootout involving the BDHs and Claire's posse ensues.

From Bad to Worse, pt 04
The gold is recovered, and a getaway is planned.

Sailing Beyond the Sunset, pt 17
Several crew members dwell on things past while one reunion is made and a wave from an old aquaintence is received.

From Bad to Worse, pt 03
The crews search the wreckage for their valuable treasure as Wash and Book attempt some thrilling heriocs.